MSU Office of Public Affairs
Dudy Noble Field at Mississippi State, home to the NCAA Baseball National Champion MSU Bulldogs, has been voted as the 2021 College/University Field of the Year.
Awarded annually by the Sports Turf Management Association, national Field of the Year recognition goes to natural grass fields that exhibit excellent playability and safety, and whose managers utilize innovative solutions, effectively use their budgets, and have implemented a comprehensive agronomic program. The professional association represents 2,700 members who are integral to maintaining sports fields worldwide.
Bart Prather, campus landscape associate director, explained that MSU’s sports turf staff meet the STMA criteria for not just Dudy Noble Field, but all the university’s outside playing surfaces. The staff is led by Sports Turf Superintendent Brandon Hardin, a 2006 graduate of MSU’s nationally recognized sports turf management program.
“Brandon and the entire staff are responsible for five major outdoor sports,” Prather said. “Each year these fields are meticulously maintained with the first objective of providing the safest surface for all involved. The infield dirt and grass areas require many hours of attention to ensure an excellent product is ready day in and day out.”
The Bermuda-based surfaces are overseeded with rye grass each fall to keep them green throughout the year. While the sports turf team makes sure the grass areas perform well for athletes, the group also wants to guarantee the field is aesthetically pleasing for what may be the largest home-game fan base in college baseball.
“This is just one of the many reasons MSU fields are recognized as some of the most beautiful and best playing surfaces in the country. And this time, the sports turf crew is fortunate enough to be recognized along with the National Champion MSU Bulldog Baseball team for being the best for 2021,” Prather said.
Sports turf is part of MSU’s campus services division, which is responsible for maintaining all campus landscaping, among other duties. MSU also is a three-time STMA Field of the Year recipient for football’s Scott Field at Davis Wade Stadium.
The MSU sports turf team will receive the award for Dudy Noble Field at STMA’s annual conference in January 2022 and will be recognized in the organization’s SportsField Management Magazine.